*****Full race report coming later, with lots of fabulous pictures******
I recently read in a magazine that some people who run long distances often dedicate each mile to someone/something. Apparently it helps the time go faster and gives you a reason to run each mile. So, before I give my full race report, I wanna let you all know what each mile was for me.
Mile 1: Chip Gibson. He has been with me from the very very beginning. We started with a FIT test and ended at the fifty yard line. It is unbelievable how much he has made a postive impact on my life. So since mile 1 is the start, I thought about him since he was my fitness guru from the very start.
Mile 2: My aunt June Cromwell. Aunt June’s favorite Bible verse was the popular Phillippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I saw that on a shirt shortly after the two mile mark and it really gave me a boost throughout the rest of the race and God definitely gave me strength, while I know Aunt June was proud of me in heaven.
Mile 3: Chris O’hearn. He was the one who first told me I could do anything I wanted to. Whether it was running 3 miles without stopping or running an entire half marathon, he believed in me and after hitting the 3 mile mark and knowing that 3 miles was one of our goals early on was really refreshing. Thanks for the motivation Chris.
Mile 4: Missy Kane, Tonya Stoutt-Brown and my entire marathon team. Mile 4 is when the crowd began to thin out along the course so I really thought about where each of my teammates were along the course. I also thought about all the fabulous support that Missy and Tonya have offered over the past four months, so I figured a mile for each month.
Mile 5: Jaena Headrick and Tahnee Jones. These lovely ladies know how much I love them and am constantly grateful for their humility and their support. They both are exceptional runners and devote a lot to their health and overall well being. Throughout the entire marathon training they were always there to support me and offer some spirit, so mile 5 was definitely for them.
Mile 6: Valerie Fowler and Kim Emert. Valerie has lost loads and loads of weight and we met online and then we finally met. She has been nothing short of spectacular as far as constantly motivating me and offering encouraging words. I’m so proud of her. Then Kim is my fellow blogger who I got to meet in person too and she was right ahead of me during mile 6 and the whole time I was thinking about how far she has come in her own personal journey.
Mile 7: Kylie Ghering. Kylie is my best friend from MC and is a fitness goddess and a collegiate soccer player. Even though she is sooo pretty and so worthy to be adored by others, she is still humble and does not judge a book by its cover. When you look at the two of us, we seem like pretty unlikely friends, but she has been the greatest during my training. Every single time I weighed in I texted her the results, knowing she would have something great to say in return. Love me some Kylie.
Mile 8: Yvonne Carnes/the whole Carnes family. This girl is the absolute first person I call whenever anything good (or bad) happens. Upon being picked for Biggest Winner, she was the very first person I called. She has spent many nights walking the bike trail in the dark with me and many many hours listening to me ramble about the training process. Not only this, but her 10 year old son, Braden helped me a lot while training too. Here 4 kids even made shirts to support me (pics posted later about that).
Mile 9: Cameron Langley and Brett Morgan. These two guys are your typical good looking, in shape, popular guys. But they have been incredibly kind to me throughout my marathon training and weight loss. Their simple yet so kind words have really touched my heart over the past four months and has really really boosted my confidence. I will always be grateful for them accepting me as I am and for just being supportive.
Mile 10: My AWANA kids. Wednesday night at church, all twenty of them stood and high fived me and wished me luck for today’s race. They were just in awe that someone would actually travel 13.1 miles by foot and not by car. (They are 9-11 years old). They had faith in me and knowing that I had their support really carried me through the last 3 miles.
Mile 11: The elites. At this point it dawned on me that the winner would probably finish before me. The mere fact that anyone can have their stamina, speed, and overall fitness is just baffling to me. But later on as I was about to hit mile 13, my personal running hero, Stewart Ellington, came whizzing by me. I didn’t have much left to give so I mustered up the loudest “Go Stewart Ellington” that I possibly could. I hope he heard me.
Mile 12: Ashley Latham. My best friend came to watch me today. Having someone there was not only motivating, but it just really really made me feel good. I had a spectator. She isn’t too familiar with the area of Knoxville we were in so I was a little concerned that she would get lost while trying to read the map and pace times I gave her. But she didn’t let me down and right as I was about to reach the top of Noelton, I saw her there with my momma cheering me on. At mile 12 I started wondering if she had made it back to the stadium. Thankfully, she had. Her being there was such a highlight and I’m so glad she got to share my big moment with me.
Mile 13: My mother. Really, none of this would have been possible without her. She is the one who made me get out to exercise every day. She is the one who buys my healthy groceries for me. She is the one who took off work just to watch me run across a finish line. She is the one who did her own marathon thirteen years ago. I have been so blessed to have her in my life and to have her share my triumphant finish today. I love you Momma!
.1: (We cannot forget the .1). Myself. The last little bit before running into the stadium, I thought about all the hard work I have put in over the past four months. All the hours spent at the gym, all the healthy meals I consumed, just everything. Knowing that I worked my butt off (literally) put a pep in my step and a smile on my face as I rounded the corner and ran into Neyland. At that point, the pride that others felt for me was instilled in myself. I saw the clock time and I realized that I had beasted last years time by almost 40 minutes. Go me!
So the next time you run a long distance, who will your miles be for?